24th February 2012, www.island.lk
In a new boost to Sri Lanka’s geo-textile industry and Sri Lanka’s standing as the world’s largest exporter of coir fibre, a top US government agency has cleared the way for Sri Lankan made geo-textiles for two projects, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce announced yesterday.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has waived its restrictions on use of foreign coir mats in US for Sri Lankan mats. The general restrictions for foreign coir mats have been imposed under the ‘Buy American requirements’ but US has specifically allowed Sri Lankan mats for two selected projects.
The US EPA has allowed Sri Lankan and Indian made coir mats to be used in two riverbank restoration projects in Ohio.
The project specific waivers are extended to the Bear Creek Restoration Project in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, and the Laurel Creek Restoration Project in Twinsburg, Ohio.
"This is a project-specific waiver and only applies to the use of the specified product for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funded projects being proposed...The coir woven mats under consideration are manufactured in India and Sri Lanka and meet the projects’ technical specifications and requirements," the US EPA said.
Sri Lanka produces 35percent of the world’s natural coir output. Almost all the coir fibre produced here are natural with no synthetic fibre produced. 90percent of coir exports are in raw form.
The raw coir is exported to UK, France, Germany, India and China.
According to the Export Development Board (EDB) the export revenue from coir based products from January to October 2011 stood at US$ 51 million. Export revenue from raw coir during the same period stood at US$ 39.7 million. Around 200 coir mills are in operation in rural Sri Lanka mostly operating in primitive working conditions with out-dated technology. The industry is also faced with labour migration to other jobs and it has become difficult to get new recruits, the ministry said.
Image: Riverbank erosion close to the road in Bear Creek tributary in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, USA. The US has temporarily lifted a ban Sri Lanka coir exports to facilitate two riverbank restoration projects.
Related Info :
• Sri Lanka Coir Fibre Exports Increased Sharply in 2009 due to Demand from China